Our cinemas are expanding. To make movies more immersive, theaters have been slowly but surely upping the scale of the silver screen. At least one IMAX theater is likely right down the road from you and the wider 16:9 aspect ratio has long eclipsed the less sweeping 3:4. While it may seem like everything should continue to get bigger and bigger, the most immersive revolution in cinema’s history is actually small enough to hold. VR headsets are just now making their way into consumer’s hands with Google’s Cardboard, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear VR and the Oculus Rift. Film as an a virtual experience is the next frontier, the next big platform for artists to conquer – and it looks like Nokia wants to be a part of it.
December 1, 2015
Nokia, maker of that phone you couldn’t break even when you tried to by smashing it into a wall back in ’05, has just announced that it’s entering the VR filmmaking space with the introduction of the OZO camera.
Easily mistakable for that laser-shooting drone Luke Skywalker trained with on the Millennium Falcon in Episode IV, the sleek OZO camera has eight cameras situated around a sphere. These cameras are meant to capture the world from most directions and seamlessly stitch them together, allowing viewers to have the agency to look all around during a film. It isn’t the first camera to use this technique, but Nokia is hoping that high-end specs will make this VR camera the envy of all VR filmmakers. Each of the eight cameras capture a 2k x 2k resolution at 30 frames-per-second. The cameras record onto a 500GB SSD capable of holding up to 45min of footage. On top of that, it has eight microphones for 3D spacial audio, a f/24 relative aperture, a slew of output options, ability to live broadcast, 802.11 WiFi for camera control (yes, you can attach it to a drone), and a rechargeable lithium ion battery. Full specs here.
Priced at $60,000, the OVO camera is trying to distance itself from more affordable options, like rigs that help you allow you to link several GoPro cameras together. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If RED Cameras have proven anything, it’s that people will pay top dollar for top performance. We won’t know whether the OVO camera justifies its price until it releases in Q1 2016, but Nokia does have a strong track record with high quality cameras in its line of Lumia smartphones. Even though Nokia’s dominance in the smartphone arena floundered alongside Windows Phone, there was little debate as to the quality of the Lumia line’s cameras. Here’s to hoping that tech is being put to good use here.
Designed with simplicity in mind so that actors don’t pay much mind to the camera in front of them, the OVO camera has certainly already attracted a lot of attention. With many filmmakers eager to turn their films into more life-like experiences, Nokia is positioning its camera as the camera for serious artists. Will Nokia rule the VR camera space like they used to rule mobile devices? Hard to say, but it certainly looks the part.